The focus is on popularity achieved by discriminating and belittling those not in their group. Fact: Bullies try to feel better by bringing others down. This is not new.
What rarely gets reported, however, is the end results of most bullies who feed off the misery of others. Where are they 10 or 20 years down the road? Is it true that what goes around comes around? Will everyone reap what they have sown?
I came to grips with such questions when a woman approached me, handed me a letter, asked me to read it and to consider sharing it with the public. Here is an edited version of the letter given to me.
You probably don’t remember me. If you do your first impulse is to tear this up, but please read it through first. We were classmates in high school English together. I was the tall pretty girl that sat in front of you — the one who made fun of you because you were just a plain (deleted).
I’m the one who was so popular, the one all the boys used to go out with, the one elected Homecoming Queen, head majorette and captain of the cheerleaders. I’m writing this letter to apologize, Barbara, because I did you a great wrong. I’m the one who started the ugly rumor that you were a lesbian, because you wouldn’t accept dates from boys. Yes, I know you said something about being a Christian and keeping yourself free from bad association.
You were saving yourself for marriage, so you would give to some deserving Christian man a precious gift on your wedding night — a pure unmolested virgin as a wife. It was hard for me to understand that because I have been on the pill since I was 13 and had 2 abortions by the time I was 18. That is why I couldn’t understand you, because I thought all normal girls were doing the same thing I was. Many were, I’m sure of that.
That’s why I thought you were so odd. But I must admit, I hated you so, because you refused to smoke pot with us and sit in parked cars between classes and after school, not because you wouldn’t falsify notes from your parents to go to pot parties with us, but I hated you because you had something I could never have — peace of mind and self-respect. No boy could point at you from across the room and brag about how he had sex with you the night before.
No teacher could bring you up to the teachers’ lounge as they sipped coffee as an example of what young people are coming to today. Yes, I hated you because you displayed a faith in God that I lost a long time ago.
Now, here’s the sad part. Do you remember Joe (deleted), don’t you? — The captain of the football team that took the team to the triple conference. We got married the same year we graduated 3 years ago. I was too far along to have an abortion.
His father and my mother are very close friends — too close if you know what I mean. They decided that it wouldn’t hurt if Joe and I got married so that child would have a name. Joe didn’t like the idea of marriage at first, but his father promised him a new car if he went through with it, so we got married.
I kept telling Joe the baby must be his, but to be honest, I can’t be sure myself. He was born 2 months premature. The delivery was difficult, but I’ll be all right. The doctor said I wouldn’t be able to have any more children.
He was such a beautiful baby — precious little thing. Joe wrecked his car 6 months after our marriage, and 6 months later he wrecked our marriage too. The divorce became final last week. Finally, Mark, my baby, he died last Friday. He got in the cabinet and drank some bleach.
You are the only one I could think to write to. I don’t have any friends anymore. My father is an alcoholic now that my mother has run off with Joe’s father. I don’t have anyone to turn to. It’s funny that you are the only one I could think of to write to — the one I lied on and made fun of. Don’t change. For God’s sake don’t change.
P.S. Will God forgive a person who takes their own life?”
Now, I don’t know what happened to this girl. Based on her hand written letter it seems she truly regretted the way she used her life. No one wants to live a life of regret. No one wants to be haunted by memories of cruelty to others. Bullies can change. If they don't?
God's Word tells us at Romans 12:17-19: “Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, and do your best to live at peace with everyone. Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says,‘I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.’” — Contemporary English Version.
We must answer to God for our actions. Certainly, there is no place, no time and no advantage in hurting others with words, weapons or violence. It is time for kindness toward all. Why not be the big person and belittle no one? Love kindness, treat others with respect and maybe life will never feel like a bully to you.